he company confirmed the discussions in a statement saying that it is in discussions with the board of Gala Coral Group Limited regarding a possible merger of Ladbrokes and Coral Retail, Eurobet Retail and Gala Coral’s Online businesses.
The combined entity would be listed on the UK Listing Authority and traded on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, according to the statement.
Jim Mullen CEO of Ladbrokes said: “Since becoming CEO my focus has been on a more aggressive plan to build digital scale and grow our recreational customer base across all channels, which is key to creating a more sustainable and growing Ladbrokes. My plans are well advanced and I look forward to presenting them to shareholders,” said Jim Mullen, CEO, Ladbrokes.
“A merger with Gala Coral could create a combined business with significant scale and has the potential to generate substantial cost synergies, creating value for both companies’ shareholders. The board has not yet concluded whether a transaction is strategically attractive and can be delivered to shareholders on appropriate terms.”
In 1998, Ladbrokes attempted to take over Coral for £363m (€507m, $576m), but the move was blocked by the government due to competition concerns. However the merger would certainly be approved this time around as the competition with betting has intensified.
Currently talks of the merger are not advanced and there are certainly obstacles to overcome, however the potential of the combined companies competing against William Hill both online and land based would appeal to both Gala Coral and Ladbrokes. One concern from both companies staff would be the amount of betting shops that would close due to the location of each other on the high streets.